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Did you always dream of becoming an author?
I wish I could be like all those other cool authors who say they have wanted to write since the day they were born. I didn’t realize how fun writing could be until about four years ago. I had just watched the movie “The Bucket List” with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson and was so fascinated with the idea of making a list of goals for myself. I put some pretty goofy things on my list– “ride a camel,” “kiss a frog,” but I also included goals that I knew would take more effort. When I scribbled “write a book,” I chuckled a little because I didn’t think it was something I could accomplish while chasing three small children. A few weeks later, an idea came to me that wouldn’t leave me alone, and in the spirit of checking off an item on my bucket list, I jotted it down. Before long, I found myself sneaking away to write more and soon realized I had a new passion in my life.
What inspires your novels?
Music inspires many of my stories. I often hear a lyric that carries my imagination into a new land or will make me think of a character that might be feeling what the lyrics are expressing. But sometimes it can be a melody that brings a story to mind, even if there are no words.
What is your writing process?
Before I begin writing a story I like to get an idea of the growth, or decline, that my characters will experience. I like try to get to know them first by figuring out their motivations, weakness, and redeeming qualities. From there, they are thrown into situations and I get to see how they’ll react! Often their reactions will change my plans for where I think the story should go and they whirl me away into much more exciting storylines!
Can you describe your writing style?
I’m a very visual person so I watch my characters, scenes, etc., much like I would a movie. After I have a hint of an idea for a story, I hash out who my characters are –their strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds. From there, I sit in my seat, get my popcorn, and watch the show. Haha! If only it were that easy. There is some blood, sweat, and tears in there too.
Do you have any special rituals you do when you sit down to write?
I have to disconnect from the internet, otherwise I get sucked into checking my email and finding out what everyone is reading on goodreads.com.
What is the hardest aspect of writing?
I think the hardest part has been letting others read my early drafts. I’m a very private person, so it is sometimes terrifying to hand my brain-child over to someone for critiquing. But, its good for me and I’ve gotten better at sharing.
What is your favorite part of writing?
I love that I can write at two in the morning or ten at night. My imagination doesn’t have to clock in and out, which is wonderful. I love creating something that never existed before, exploring my imagination, and working in my pajamas. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but one of things that I get a kick out is being able to “zone out” in the late afternoon and people just assume I’m working out the details of a scene, when really I’m just tired
What is your most rewarding experience about being a published author?
I’ve loved all the interactions I’ve had with so many different people all over the world - readers, bloggers, reviewers, etc. There are so many awesome people out there who love books and want to share them with others. It has been wonderful to get to know them.
Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
I always love to hear when someone has stayed up all night to finish my book. It seems like the ultimate compliment to give an author and never fails to make me smile.
Do you ever get writer's block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
I do! I usually step away from whatever project I’m working on and do something else, often something not related to writing at all. So far, this has helped!
What is the best advice you have ever received as a writer?
I began writing because I love it, not because I wanted to be published or to earn a few extra dollars. During the frustrating and discouraging process of finding an agent, I forgot this. I forgot to have fun. After hearing a countless number of times, “the market is saturated with witch novels, your book won’t sell,” I considered giving it all up. Fortunately, my husband has a talent for helping me see things clearly rather than through my overly emotional girl-glasses. He said, “if it isn’t fun anymore, then don’t do it. But if it makes you happy, then don’t give it up.”
Do you have any advice for young writers?
Take classes, go to writers conferences, and don’t be afraid to let people critique your work. And have fun!
What’s next on your writing agenda?
I’m finishing up the final edits for The Underground Witch, book two in the Incenaga Trilogy, which will be released May 2, 2013. I’m also finishing up the final edits for a historical fiction set in ancient Egypt that I’m very excited about – Tiy and the Prince of Egypt. It is about a blue-eyed, blond-haired girl who inadvertently saves Pharaoh’s son and is rewarded with an invitation to join the elite royal school in Egypt’s capital. It’s an adventurous middle-grade novel. I’m also working on a YA contemporary set in Greece, which I’m excited about.